Cycling Routes in Tonga
Thanks to this archipelago’s small islands, mostly flat gradients and (usually) incredible weather, Tonga is an amazing place to cycle. Bike rentals are available in most of the island groups where cycle routes follow Tonga’s quiet roads. Do a bit of historical sightseeing in Tongatapu, ride to gorgeous beaches in Ha’apai or to the rugged coastal attractions in ‘Eua. Or how about a mountain biking mission down the dirt roads of Vava’u? It’s all possible on these awesome bike trails in Tonga.
Where to Rent Bikes in Tonga
Taina’s Place and The Hideaway.
Hakula Lodge and Friendly Islands Kayak Company.
Learn more about each bike rental company in Where to Rent Bicycles in Tonga.
Nuku’alofa to Ha’amonga ‘a Maui
Length: 35km (21.7 miles) one-way
Where: Centre of Nuku’alofa to Niuatoua, a village on the eastern side of Tongatapu
Highlights: Royal Tombs, Royal Residences, Fishing Pigs, Mu’a Langi Tombs, Paepae ‘o Telea’a Royal Terrace Tombs, Captain Cook Landing Place and Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon.
A good day ride across the flat island of Tongatapu, this cycling route solely follows Taufa’ahau Road between Nuku’alofa and the village of Niuatoua where the famous Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon is located.
Starting from Nuku’alofa town centre, check out the Royal Tombs and fuel up with some Tongan treats before following Taufa’ahau Road south. On the way out of Nuku’alofa, you’ll spot the Royal Residences on a grassy hilltop.
Once you reach the village of Pea, continue on Taufa’ahau Road east where you’ll travel through various coastal villages. Just before reaching Mu’a, stop by the Captain Cook Landing Site. As you continue through the village, look out for the “fishing pigs”, as well as few historical sites signposted off the road, including the Mu’a Langi Tombs and Paepae ‘o Telea’a Terraced Tombs.
Continue following Taufa’ahau Road north where you’ll pass through more coastal villages before finally reaching the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon. this historic structure is nicknamed the “Stonehenge of the South Pacific” and is found just outside the village of Niutoua. Stop by the convenience stores and roadside fruit stalls for a snack to fuel you for the way back to Nuku’alofa.
For more possible bike rides in Tongatapu, be sure to check out The Best Cycling Routes in Tongatapu.
Pangai to Homale’eia Beach
Length: 14km (9 miles) one-way
Island: Lifuka and Foa (Ha’apai)
Where: Pangai, the main town of Lifuka, to Homale’eia Beach at the northern tip of Foa Island
Highlights: Mariner’s Cafe, Shirley Baker Monument, Salote Pilolevu Airport runway, Port au Prince Monument Beach, Homale’eia Beach and Matafonua Lodge.
Several resorts, guesthouses and the Mariner’s Cafe offer bike hire along this route, making this trail between Pangai and Homale’eia Beach a popular ride.
Starting in Pangai, ride north on Holopeka for about 800m (870 yards) where you’ll reach the Shirley Baker Monument, a monument to the first prime minister of Tonga. Continue past the Ha’apai Beach Resort. You’ll eventually reach the runway of the Salote Pilolevu Airport, which, yes, you just cycle straight across.
A few hundred metres north of the runway is the turn off for the Port au Prince Memorial Beach. It’s a quick side trip worth checking out. You’ll then ride across a causeway onto Foa Island where you’ll journey past various plantations and some small villages. The ride ends where the road north stops at the Matafonua Lodge. Have a bite to eat at the resort’s cafe and enjoy some sensational snorkelling on the beach.
Tufuvai Beach to the Rock Gardens
Length: 14km (8.7 miles) one-way
Where: Tufuvai Beach to the Rock Garden Cliffs where attractions such as the Laku Fa’anga Cliffs and Li’angahuo ‘a Maui bridge are located.
Highlights: Tufuvai Beach, Ha’aluma Beach, Rock Gardens, Laku Fa’anga Cliffs and Li’angahuo ‘a Maui natural landbridge.
We’re starting this route near Tufuvai Beach where the accommodation nearby, The Hideaway, offers bike hire. You can also pick up this trail from Taina’s Place, which knocks off about 5km (3 miles) from the ride.
The ride takes you south along the main road of ‘Eua, passing through various villages and plantations. Your destination is the southern tip of ‘Eua where you’ll find the Rock Gardens Walk as described in the 5 Best Hikes in ‘Eua. Leave enough time at the end of your ride to explore the destination.
Neiafu to ‘Utula’aina Lookout
Length: 10km (6.2 miles) one-way
Island: ‘Utu Vava’u
Where: Start from Neiafu riding north to the ‘Utula’aina Lookout
Highlights: Neiafu, ‘Utula’aina Lookout and ‘Esi ‘o Salote Beach.
Despite being only 10km, treat this as a full day ride to compensate for the various hill climbs involved in this ride. Hire a bike in Neiafu and tackle this mountain biking route independently or enjoy the trail as part of a guided mountain biking tour with the Friendly Islands Kayak Company.
Starting from Neiafu, be sure to pick up a picnic from the market or one of the supermarkets. Then it’s time to hit the road, cycling north on Tui Road. When you get to a crossroads in the village of Mataika, go straight (north) and straight again at the next crossroads, following the road to Holonga. In Holonga, follow the brown signs for the ‘Utula’aina Lookout taking you onto a gravel/dirt road.
Enjoy the off-roading portion of the ride, still heading north as you pass several kava and taro plantations. When you come to a fork in the road, follow the sign pointing left to the ‘Utula’aina Lookout. Look into the bushes on the side of the road to see historic tombs. You’ll soon come across a stunning lookout of the north coast and beaches of ‘Utu Vava’u. You can head back to the fork in the road and also check out the beach signposted “‘Esi ‘o Salote”.